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US: How floral delivery company FTD revamped its operations following bankruptcy

More than three years after exiting bankruptcy, floral delivery company FTD is regaining its footing in the gifting business by diversifying its product lineup and making it easier for florists to fulfill same-day deliveries.

This fall, FTD company launched partnerships with Baked by Melissa and Milkbar to allow customers to add snacks to floral orders. Plans are in the works to add other sweets, and the company is currently beta-testing alcohol deliveries with Thirstie in several major metros with the hope of rolling it out nationwide by early next year. And behind-the-scenes, new ordering systems and a Shopify-based platform aim to make it easier for florists to fulfill online orders coming from FTD.

So far, the changes appear to be making a difference as FTD re-enters the nearly $12 billion floral gifting market. The company saw a 150% year-over-year increase in units for orders during the Thanksgiving holiday. Refunds are down 10% year-over-year. And as of October 2022, the company has seen a 50% year-over-year increase in non-floral revenue for celebrations like Halloween and back-to-school season. But such growth hardly blossomed overnight.

FTD emerged from bankruptcy in August 2019 when it was bought out by an affiliate of private equity firm Nexus Capital Management LP. Then in March 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic triggered lockdowns and an economic standstill across the United States, CEO Charlie Cole took the helm.

What followed was nearly two years of fixing the company’s “nuts and bolts,” Cole said before the company could implement a refreshed business strategy. The most critical part of that? Mending the relationship with more than 9,000 member florists across the country who had partnered with FTD for delivery services — and weren’t pleased.

“There were a lot of things that we needed to fix, a lot of scar tissue that needed to be cut away,” Cole said. “Most of the problems from coming out of bankruptcy were caused by us — or caused by bad systems, caused by bad handoffs, or caused by bad information being sent to members. And so the number one challenge we had was fixing that. Because otherwise, you’re going to have a bad customer experience.”

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